Dembska, Anna

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PERSONAL: Female. Education: Antioch College, degree in music and dance.

ADDRESSES: Office—Flying Leap Music, 53599 Hwy 245, Pinehurst, CA 93641. E-mail[email protected].

CAREER: Composer and educator. Has taught voice, musicianship, and performance technique with Metropolitan Opera Guild and New York University. Producer and performer of original music and theater compositions across the United States. Flying Leap Music, Pinehurst, CA, cofounder, 1999–. Performer and director, Singin' Local (vocal ensemble group); director, Schoodic Summer Chorus. Composer of music for voice, piano, and chorus, including "Longing," "Coyote," "Sittin' Local," and "Mira!"; cantata for The Bear, 2002, and chamber operas The Juniper Tree, 1988, and To Music, 1996. Music recorded on A Circle Is Cast.

AWARDS, HONORS: Grants from Puffin Foundation and Meet the Composer.


(With Joan Harkness) You've Got Rhythm: Read Music Better by Feeling the Beat, Flying Leap Music (Pinehurst, CA), 2000.

(With Joan Harkness) Piano, Body, and Soul: Learn to Play and Be the Musician You Always Wanted to Be, Flying Leap Music (Pinehurst, CA), 2003.

The Singing Bridge (opera), produced in Stonington, ME, 2005.

SIDELIGHTS: Anna Dembska has been studying, teaching, and performing music since her youth. Earlier on in her career she performed as a soprano soloist and improviser and worked in puppet theater. She has also taught music for more than twenty-five years with a number of organizations, including the Metropolitan Opera Guild and New York University. In 1999 she cofounded Flying Leap Music with pianist Joan Harkness, a company that publishes music education materials. Dembska also continues to perform with the vocal ensemble group Singin' Local, and she directs the Schoodic Summer Chorus.

In 2000 Dembska and Harkness published You've Got Rhythm: Read Music Better by Feeling the Beat. The book serves as a guide for students age nine and up to learn rhythm; the authors' technique focuses on spoken word compositions, called "talking music," and hand clapping patterns, called "slap/clap/tap." The compositions are drawn from a diverse collection of sources, ranging from The Wizard of Oz to the Burpee's Farm Annual 1888.

Several critics gave You've Got Rhythm positive reviews overall, citing the book's unique approach to teaching rhythm as a major strength. Many also noted that the book can be applied to a broad range of students. "One seldom encounters a book of interest to all musicians—this may be one of those unusual books," observed American Music Teacher contributor Sue A. Steck-Turner. Other critics appreciated the authors' use of humor and imagination to create a learning tool. "Fresh and unique, this guide is recommended for school media centers and public libraries with music education collections," according to Janet Brewer in a review for Library Journal.



American Music Teacher, October-November 2002, Sue A. Steck-Turner, review of You've Got Rhythm: Read Music Better by Feeling the Beat, p. 107; August-September 2003, "New Piano Course for Adult Beginners."

Bangor Daily News, July 13, 2005, review of The Singing Bridge.

Ellsworth American, July 14, 2005, review of The Singing Bridge.

Library Journal, March 15, 2002, Janet Brewer, review of You've Got Rhythm, p. 82.


Flying Leap Music Web site, (June 20, 2005), "Anna Dembska.", (May 31, 2002), review of You've Got Rhythm., (May 31, 2002), review of You've Got Rhythm.